Dorothy and Paul Gutierrez

Santa Clara

Black mudhead figure with 4 children
 

Paul White Corn Gutierrez was born to Luther Gutierrez and Lupita Naranjo of Santa Clara Pueblo in 1940. It doesn't appear that Lupita made much pottery as Luther's name is more tied with his sister Margaret's: Luther and Margaret made pottery together in the design tradition of their parents, Lela and Van (Evangelio) Gutierrez.

In 1965 Paul married Dorothy (Corn Maiden), a Navajo also born in 1940. Dorothy's mother was a weaver who specialized in belts. Dorothy learned a bit about playing with clay while she was in day school.

Paul started working with clay at home when he was around 12 years old. Working with clay as adults, Dorothy and Paul became known for their mudhead figures. Mudheads (also known as koyemsi) usually have distorted features and are often grouped together like storytellers with their children. They also made Nativities: red or black, matte and polished human and animal figures. Dorothy and Paul also made redware and blackware storytellers, mermaids, angels, ornaments, and buffalo, ram and pig figures.

Working as a husband-and-wife team, Dorothy usually molded the clay and formed the figures while Paul did most of the polishing and finish work. They made everything from miniatures to pieces 6 inches tall, in red and black. Some of their Nativities contained as many as 17 pieces, and as Paul told an interviewer once after ground-firing a set, "They come out different each time, with different faces. It's nice."

Dorothy and Paul were exhibitors at SWAIA Santa Fe Indian Market from 1981 through 1999. In 1981 they earned 1st and 2nd Place ribbons for their figures. There was another 1st Place ribbon in 1983 for a traditional undecorated piece and a 3rd Place ribbon in 1984 for a figure. From 1995 to 1999 they were also exhibitors at the Eight Northern Pueblos Arts & Crafts Show at San Juan Pueblo.

Paul passed on in 2017. Dorothy is still alive but no longer makes pottery.


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